Celebrating International Women’s Day with #BuildFor2030
This blog was bylined by Gavriella Schuster in her former role as Microsoft Channel Chief.
Today we celebrate International Women’s Day, observed since the early 1900s to honor women’s achievements, raise awareness of inequality due to gender, and inspire collective action to close parity gaps.
If women participated in the economy to the same degree as men, the global economy would grow by an estimated $28 trillion by the year 2025.
Women-led organizations play a vital part of the Microsoft partner ecosystem. Their innovations and solutions are contributing to digital transformation for our customers and enabling them to better navigate and adapt to current challenges. The entrepreneurial spirit and voices of female tech leaders enrich our community and make it more diverse and powerful.
Our opportunity to support women
One of the best ways to support women is to build for impact. This year in particular, we must take time to reflect on how we can support women and create a virtuous cycle of collective, upward-trending progress.
That’s why I’m excited to share that the #BuildFor2030 campaign is back for its second year. The campaign highlights Microsoft partners whose technology solutions align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 initiatives adopted by member states in 2015 focused on impacting the world for good by 2030.
As a partner to the UN (United Nations), we have pledged to support the SDGs and we celebrate partner organizations that drive innovation toward a more inclusive economy.
This International Women’s Day, we are showcasing women-led solutions that serve customers’ business and technical needs across industries and functions. Among solutions featured are those aimed at tackling customer challenges in data management, network administration, supply chain analytics, cross-functional team collaboration, digital event marketing, and reducing bias in recruiting.
Why supporting women matters more now than ever
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened pre-existing inequalities and disproportionately affected women across the globe—especially low-income mothers of color.
Sixty-eight million people have fallen below the poverty line for low- to middle-income countries (US$3.20 a day) since 2019, reversing years of progress. These people are more likely to be women. Why?
Women in low- and middle-income countries work mainly in the informal sector. These jobs take place in people’s homes or public markets that are now inaccessible—and don’t generate government support when lost.
Women do 2.6 times more unpaid care work and domestic work like cooking, cleaning, and caring for children and sick relatives than men. During the pandemic, the amount of this work skyrocketed (for example, due to increased illness, school closures, and childcare providers closing or reducing hours).
The impact? Although women make up 39 percent of global employment, they account for 54 percent of overall pandemic-related job losses.
According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “Evidence from dozens of emerging economies shows that when money flows into the hands of women, and when those women have the power to decide how and when to spend it, their lives and the lives of their families are better.”
Creating gender equity is a purpose in and of itself—and, importantly, it also functions as an underlying engine that accelerates progress towards all the SDGs.
Building a better shared future
We need to do our part to increase representation of women in technology, which unfortunately was already on the decline even prior to the impact of the pandemic. As I shared in my recent TEDx Talk, BeCOME an Ally: How to achieve gender equity, thirty years ago, 36% of the computing workforce was women and in 2019, that number had fallen to 27%.
As leaders in technology, let’s leverage our voice, influence, and technical skills to help the world get back on track and build a more inclusive, sustainable, and equitable world together.
Join us to #BuildFor2030
Despite challenging times, we keep seeing the power of digital transformation to improve lives. For instance, digital identity and payment technologies enabled India to transfer cash to 200 million women when the pandemic hit, reducing the immediate impact of COVID-19.
That’s why we started the #BuildFor2030 campaign. We wanted to highlight innovations made possible by a diverse partner ecosystem, and to inspire more to build solutions with inclusive and sustainable impact in mind.
Take action by:
- Amplifying women-led solutions spotlighted today.
Get involved with partner-led communities
Lifting women up is both an individual choice and a collective effort.
We are grateful for the work and commitment of our many partner-led communities who share our commitment to reaching gender equality, advancing women in leadership, increasing economic access, and building more diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplaces.
Take action by:
- Empowering women’s skilling and advancement in technology with The WIT Network.
- Committing to expanding economic access for women tech entrepreneurs with Women in Cloud.
- Becoming allies to women at all levels of your organization. Learn from initiatives from around the globe, such as the Microsoft Partner Group Male Champions of Change.
On this day of celebration and reflection—during a time of continued challenge—let’s acknowledge and lift up our women-led and owned partner organizations and build a better future for more of us, together.